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I know I already posted about plastic bags, but here is a reminder that I got from my friend Crystal:


Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 66% less energy than standard light bulbs, generate less heat and last longer. Some of these are better than others. Here is what consumer reports has to say:

After thousands of hours, most of the 13- to 15-watt compact fluorescent lightbulbs we are testing still work. That's good news, considering that equivalent 60-watt incandescents typically last only 1,000 hours. All of the CFLs are Energy Star-qualified.

But the light went out early on seven of nine Feit Ecobulb ESL13T bulbs, which cost about $2.25 apiece. Most of these failed between 3,300 to 3,900 hours of lighting in our tests, which cycle them on and off. The package claimed 8,000 hours average life. A better choice was the Feit Ecobulb Plus ESL13T/Eco ($2.66). All 10 samples of that model passed a 5,000-hour preliminary test, and they are being tested further, along with other brands. So far, here are some other good choices: GE 8,000 Hour Long Life 41525, and N:Vision 423-599, (sold at Home Depot) were still on after 7,600 hours. We paid about $2 to $4.50 a bulb.

All of the bulbs we are testing claim to have less than 5 milligrams of mercury. Ecobulb Plus claims less than 2.5 mg; N:Vision, 2.3 to 3.5 mg. You should recycle dead CFLs so that mercury isn't released into the environment. Most municipalities don't have programs to collect CFLs, and neither do most stores that sell them. Learn how to recycle your CFLs.

Although not all CFLs will last their claimed life, our testing has shown that most should last much longer than incandescent bulbs and pay for themselves in energy savings. Even the Feit bulbs that quit at 3,300 hours could save about $13 over their short life span.

note: there was a link in that article on how to recycle but I think you have to be a member to see it. The gist is that some manufacturers will take them back and also Ikea stores will take them. Another option is to contact your local waste disposal center for centers that they might have that accept them.

here's what I'm going to do:

I'm going to evaluate all of the light bulbs in my house and replace the ones I can with CFL's & when my CFL's die I will make sure they go to the right place instead of in the trash.

Buying from local farmers has many benefits:

  • less gasoline is used to ship the produce
  • it is fresher and therefore has more potent vitamins
  • it supports your local economy
  • it makes you feel good

here's what I'm going to do:

This year I started taking part in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. I gave money in the spring to an organic farm for one share. That one share means one full bag of produce every week through the growing season. They also partner with local orchards and dairies so sometimes I get fruit and cheese.

They have several pick-up locations. I chose one close to my work. During lunch every Monday I go pick up my bag of produce. It has been fun to see what I get and to make tasty meals from it. I also have had such an abundance of beans that I blanched some and froze them so I can use them in the fall and winter.

I also want to go visit my local farmers market. There is one in downtown Salt Lake but I think there is also one closer to where I live. I think I'm going to visit to see what the selection is there. I love the idea of the farmers market because I think it not only helps to boost local business but it also fosters a sense of community.

I recently went to a private screening of the documentary: FLOW (For Love of Water) It was incredibly educational. The documentary comes out in theaters in the fall. Watch for it because it is a must see. You can also visit their webpage at flow the film. From their website is a link to another website that talks about bottled water. It is think outside the bottle. Here is information from that site:

Bottled water corporations are changing the very way people think about water. Corporations like Coke, Nestlé and Pepsi are manufacturing demand for an essential resource that flows directly from our taps. What's more many bottled water brands actually come from the same source as public tap water though these brands are sold back to the public at thousands of times the cost.
Plastic bottles also require massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport. Billions of these bottles wind up in landfills every year.
And when bottled water marketing convinces one in five people that the only place to get drinking water is from a bottle, it threatens the political will to adequately fund our public water systems.
You can help reverse this trend - take action today to support efforts to reduce the social and environmental impacts of bottled water and to prioritize public water systems!

here's what I'm going to do:

The office where I work buys bottled water for us to drink - individual bottles of water. I think it's because we didn't have a kitchen sink for a long time. Now we have one. I'm looking into options for getting a filter system hooked up to our sink and I'm going to present them to my boss. I hope he accepts an alternative. Some of the bottles we use get recycled but I have seen many of them end up in the trash. Also it is so crazy how much fuel is used to transport bottles of water from the "manufacturer" to the stores and then again to the end user.

I have also purchased an aluminum water bottle to use for hiking. With all of this scare of BPA leeching I want to use the safest method possible for drinking containers. I got my SIGG bottle from Whole Foods. It looks like THIS.

this is information from

With the heat of summer now upon us, we should do everything we can to conserve energy as we keep cool. That means treating our air conditioners the same way we treat other energy-demanding appliances: by using them wisely and keeping them running efficiently.
• Use an energy-efficient air conditioner.
If you're buying a new air conditioner, choose one for maximum energy efficiency. New air conditioners come labeled with an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), a standard that lets you calculate how much electricity the air conditioner will consume. The higher the EER, the less it will cost you to operate the appliance to achieve the same level of cooling.
• Avoid overcooling.
Don't use or buy more cooling equipment capacity than you actually need. If you decide on central air conditioning, select the most energy-efficient unit that will cool the size space you have. Bigger is not better. A larger unit than you need will cost more to run and may not remove enough humidity from the air, the feature that some consumers like most about air conditioners.
• Keep your cooling system well tuned.
Have it professionally maintained, and ask how the energy efficiency of the system may be increased.
• Install a whole-house ventilating fan.
This can be put in your attic or in an upstairs window to cool the house, even if you have central air conditioning. According to Consumer Reports, a big fan working under the right conditions can cool and ventilate an entire house for about the energy cost of running an air conditioner in one room.
• Set your thermostat as high as possible.
78 degrees F. is often recommended as a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor temperature.

here's what I'm going to do:

I already have a swamp cooler which uses 1/3 of the energy as an air conditioner. I am getting it fixed up so that it doesn't leak water anywhere and that it runs as efficiently as possible.

also - here's an update on how walking to and from church has been:

bag lady

okay since Alina brought it up, let's talk about shopping bags. Here is some information comparing paper vs. plastic:

To make all the bags we use each year, it takes 14 million trees for paper and 12 million barrels of oil for plastic. The production of paper bags creates 70 percent more air pollution than plastic, but plastic bags create four times the solid waste — enough to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times. And they can last up to a thousand years.
Plastic, because it's cheaper to produce, is the overwhelming choice of grocery stores across the nation — the average family of four uses almost 1,500 of these a year.

For both types of bags, the environmentalist mantra is the same — reuse and recycle. But the best choice, they say, is cloth or canvas, and BYOB — bring your own bags.

Here is some more information I found on www.reusablebags.com:

Top Facts - Consumption

Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.

According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)

According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year—900 per person.

According to Australia’s Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year—326 per person. An estimated .7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.

Top Facts - Environmental Impact

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.

here's what I'm going to do:

I have actually been using cloth bags for a while now and I LOVE them. Not only does it help the environment but since they are stronger than plastic bags, they hold more groceries and you can put the strap on your shoulder. Now I don't even have to take the cart out to my car, I can just carry everything in 2 or 3 bags instead of lots of smaller plastic ones.

I used to keep some plastic bags to use for doggie doo, but starting today I am going to order some biodegradable poo bags online and use those instead. And when my supply of kitchen garbage bags runs out I am going to buy biodegradable garbage bags too. I found this website:

ecosafe plastics

that sells some bags and I'm sure Whole Foods has options as well. I'll look into it and let you know.

Also - check out these websites that have biodegrable utensils and tableware. Some are made from corn or potato starch!:



the green office